In March 2016, the UK and Netherlands published an update of their food-based dietary guidelines. Each country has its own model, in which several segments represent the amount and the type of foods which are needed to have a balanced and healthy diet. Both countries explicitly highlight spreads as a good source of fat in our diet.
The two countries recommend to eat foods which are high in unsaturated fat, in line with the long-term health advice to replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat in our diet. It does not come as a surprise that both models recommended spreads and vegetable oils as a source of fat.
The Dutch Wheel of Five (“Schijf van Vifj”) specifically advises us to use “soft margarines, liquid cooking fats and vegetable oils”. All these products are included in the wheel, provided that their saturated fat content does not represent more than 30% of the total fat content.
In the British “Eatwell Guide”, vegetable oils and spreads are now in a separate segment with the message “Choose unsaturated oils and use in small amounts”; while butter is captured as “Foods to eat less often and in small amounts”.
These models give a lot of room to plant-based foods. It clearly expresses the tendency of modern countries to take into account sustainability when providing dietary advice to consumers.
When it comes to fat, both countries provide advice in line with scientific research, which shows that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat, especially polyunsaturated fat, is beneficial to your heart health. Vegetable oils and spreads are the ideal foods to include in our diet to meet these recommendations.